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Topic: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook
Replies: 29   Last Post: Aug 10, 2020, 10:36 PM by: TigerLinks
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50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

emoji_events [17]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 8:37 AM
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Our company was camped in the middle of dry rice paddies near where we had lost the tank earlier when a Chinook helicopter was sent out to resupply us. This was very unusual since we rarely saw those choppers out in the field due to their size and limited mobility compared to the much smaller Hueys. For those on here unfamiliar with them, they were almost identical in appearance to the large two-rotor chopper that was on Bowman Field last year on Military Appreciation Day and pictures were posted on here with the guy looking out at Death Valley as they left. I guess this chopper was sent out to us because our position was in the center of a large open area and someone thought it would be secure. After it landed and several of our guys were unloading boxes of ammunition, C-rations, and bags of clean jungle fatigues ( which we got about once every 2 weeks), a group of VC that had used a deep creek bed as cover opened fire. The pilot panicked and took off at a steep angle without closing the rear cargo door ( both of which violated procedures I have been told) and one guy in my platoon from Puerto Rico rolled out of the back as it ascended and was killed. One guy on the ground was hit by a case of C-rations that fell out but was not seriously hurt. A third guy from Montana who was clinging to one of the seats inside was hit in the knee by a bullet that ricocheted off the floor. This was his third Purple Heart from rifle fire which meant he got to go home even though all 3 injuries were minor as each bullet hit other things before hitting him.. The first bullet that hit him had struck boulders along a creek before a small fragment went just under his scalp above his eye and stopped just behind his ear where our medic made a small cut to remove it. The second one came through the floor of a Huey chopper as we were flying too low over a tree line and took fire from the ground and it barely penetrated his buttcheek and was removed with the medic's tweezers. ( We usually sat on the chopper floor with our legs hanging out the door so we could return fire if we were able to tell that we were being shot at). The second and third bullets were odd-shaped homemade bullets that the VC had made to reload M-16 casings so they could use weapons that they had either captured from our troops or from local Popular Forces which we supplied. Company records reported that the pilot was reprimanded for not following protocol.

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thank you for your sacrifice***

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 8:42 AM
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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 8:47 AM
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That had to be a a very frightening situation. Thank you for your service.


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[4]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 9:00 AM
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Was with the 1st MarDiv north of DaNang 50 yrs ago today. Forgettable times. You must have kept a diary for you are most succinct in your Nam posts.


thank you for your sacrifice...

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 9:07 AM
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so few stop to consider the sheer inconvenience putting your life on hold...inconvenience is an understatement

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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 11:46 AM
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I was with 3rd Bn. 1st Marines 50 years ago today just north of DaNang. What unit were you with?


Was with the Americal Division 3/1

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 1:02 PM
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out of Duc Pho - our fire base was Hill 4-11 near Quang Nai City

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Re: Was with the Americal Division 3/1


Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 5:46 PM
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Yes, I remember where you were but was wondering where Britts was since I was in the same area at the same time.


No diary - these days are entrenched in


Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 12:59 PM
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memories- but I do have a battalion history that chronicles daily action over several years. I can look in it for exact dates of events I was involved in but the record is very incomplete- most notably omitting the day I was wounded and another day when one of our lieutenants lost a leg to a booby trap


Message was edited by: clover65®


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My father-in-law was a platoon commander and he has told me

[3]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 10:01 AM
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that anytime they were in the helicopter, they would sit on their helmets to prevent getting shot in the ### (or other more sensitive areas.)


Re: My father-in-law was a platoon commander and he has told me

[3]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 11:50 AM
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WE flew on CH-46's the Marine's version of the Chinook. We usually sat on canvas bench seats that ran down along each side. I was a combat engineer, so when we were going somewhere we usually had a bunch of supplies in the chopper with us and more often than not a lot of the cargo was explosives. We always kept the blasting caps away from the explosives ...... usually in my left top pocket. If possible on the second chopper if we had two.


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 11:51 AM
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Thanks again for your story Clover. When I get a chance I'll tell the story of my platoon blowing up a mountain top and trying to get choppers to come and pick us up.


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 12:39 PM
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CH-47.jpg(235.4 K)

Thank you for your service
think about the outcome if The Green Bus had not come

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Thank you for your service and thank you for sharing this.

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 11:54 AM
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My father was in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. He was in Army amphibious transportation.

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"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 2:35 PM
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Thank you for your service and for posting these stories. My father was there 68-69 in the Navy Seabees. My dad spent 5-6 weeks at Hill 55 which was a helipad that had "Welcome Hill 55" written in stone so it could be seen from above. While their he helped build a dining facility.

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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 2:41 PM
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A few questions.

1. Was the guy hit 3 times in this one attack or was it 3 different events that allowed him to go home.

2. Did they retrieve the soldier's body from Puerto Rico?

3. What did you guys use for toilet paper in the field and was having an uncomfortable behind a common issue out there?

Thanks for these interesting stories by the way. I know they are heavy memories for you, but they are are very fascinating to me. Thanks for your service too.

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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 3:31 PM
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Clover will answer this too, but when I was there it was an accumulation of being wounded three times. It did not have to be at the same time. Later in the year (1970) I was in the Naval hospital in Guam with a 2nd Lt. who had been shot through the calf muscle. He had only been in country for two weeks and he was not going to have to go back. Also at that time officers were only serving six months in Viet Nam and six months in Okinawa. I served an entire year in Viet Nam, and quite frankly preferred it over a split tour in Oki.

At our battalion compound I think we always had toilet paper. In the field every C-ration box had coffee, a few cigarettes (I think), coffee, sugar, chocolate bar (tasted like wax) the main dish (turkey loaf was my favorite) and a little toilet paper (folded). Did I miss anything, Clover? Maybe a heat tab?


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 3:41 PM
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Thanks for the response.

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I don’t remember the coffee or sugar

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:08 PM
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because I never drank any - gave the cigarettes away - and we preferred to heat the C-rations with chunks of C-4 plastic explosives which burned faster & hotter- squads would select C-ration meals by taking turns & beanie weenies & turkey loaf usually went first- ham and potatoes aka “shrapnel” last - the spaghetti was impossible to heat in the can, it would rise up & fall out of the can if you were not careful

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Or was it the ham & Lima beans that


Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:18 PM
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was called “ham and shrapnel?

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Re: I don’t remember the coffee or sugar

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 5:55 PM
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That's funny because we also used C-4 rather than the heat tabs. Since we were combat engineers we always had C-4 available. Actually I think the "Ham & Potatoes" were "Ham & Lima's" and were usually left in the box because no one would take them unless they were starving. We called them "Ham & mother_______ (you can fill in the rest).

If you wrote to the Tabasco Company, they would send you a C-rats "recipe" book that told all kinds of ways to prepare C-rats. Of course we never had any of the ingredients, so basically they just told you to use the tiny bottles of Tabasco that they sent along to enhance your meal. It didn't take long to get tired of the C-rats!


His wounds were in March, June ,and

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 3:54 PM
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In August- Hector fell just as the chopper got off the ground high enough to be lethal so he was within sight - our C-ration boxes contained small packets of TP - and you can imagine being in over-90 degree heat for a couple of weeks without a bath - wore no underwear to prevent chafing

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Re: His wounds were in March, June ,and

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:07 PM
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I was a golf caddie at Kiawah when I was younger and would walk 36 carrying two bags quite often in that hot SC August heat. The most important things to care of as a caddie were your feet and butt. That's why I was wondering about you guys who had less options to use bathrooms. Thanks for the response.

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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 3:56 PM
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Thank you for serving this great country.


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:01 PM
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I flew with the 114th Assault Helicopter Co. out of Vinh Long in the Delta. Flew Cobras and Hueys. Glad you made it home Clover!

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Can’t count the times Cobras & 1st Air Cav


Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:14 PM
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gunships bailed us out - you guys were lifesavers

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Re: Can’t count the times Cobras & 1st Air Cav

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 4:18 PM
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You call we will be there!

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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 6:33 PM
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Interesting, my dad was there I believe late 67 through most of 68 with the marines near da nang. It was during Tet if those years match right. He has a pretty gruesome picture album that was hidden that me and my brothers would sneak out and show friends as kids, keep in mind my dad ended up being a career marine so the kids were usually other military brats and sometimes had some albums of their own although not as gruesome.

I’ve gotten some good stories a couple times after a few drinks but it only flowed out a couple times which is understandable. My older brother is an O6 with the marines one tour Iraq one tour Afghanistan but he is about to retire himself.


Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[2]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 6:48 PM
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My dad was wounded twice in WWII, won a silver star and bronze star with a V, and proudly wore this combat infantry badge with a star for as long as he was in uniform. He had a raft of hash marks on his sleeve as was to be expected of an as enlistee who emerged WWII as a Major. He served in the Army of Occupation in both Germany and Japan and put in a couple of tough years in Korea. Pop is buried in the Beaufort National Cemetery with his comrades in arms.

Pop always said that 'he only did his duty' and that all the heroes were buried on foreign soil where they fell.

I think he had it right.

Message was edited by: Harley®


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Re: 50 years ago today -Vietnam - the Chinook

[1]
Posted: Aug 10, 2020, 10:36 PM
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Harley, your dad was indeed a hero, but I am sure he did not think of himself as one. The Silver Star required real heroic actions. I feel sure, like you said, that he felt like the real heros were the ones that did not come back. Rightfully so, you should be quite proud of your dad.


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